Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

More than three years after the delivery of a manufactured home from Bonneville Industries, buyers are living in a house still under construction. The company long refused to carry out certain work required in a decision by the Residential Construction Guarantee (GCR) organization, before finally changing its tune during the preparation of this report. Theinvoice.

3 years so that Bonneville corrects construction defects

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Yvan Caron, who discusses here with journalist Annie Hudon-Friceau, hopes to put an end to this affair soon.

  • Annie Hudon-Friceau ( View profile)Annie Hudon-Friceau

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Winter 2020, Yvan Caron and his partner Line Bergeron decide to trust Bonneville Industries for their retirement project. They want to build a house in the heart of a forest in Grandes-Piles, in Mauricie.

The size of the land we have here, this is the neighborhood where we lived before. We have a small waterfall, a small lake, we have access to the Saint-Maurice River. So, it’s really a haven of peace, underlines Yvan Caron.

The couple chose the NATUR-H model, which will be personalized according to their needs and terrain. A model composed of two modules which will be assembled on site.

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As a retirement project, Line Bergeron and Yvan Caron have chosen to set up a pretty house in a wooded area of ​​Grandes-Piles, very close to Shawinigan.

But upon delivery, problems arise.

The work to finalize the roof is not carried out the same day or in the following days. Impossible for the couple to move into their new house before Christmas, as they would have liked.

They delivered it wrapped. They said, "It's the holiday season. We're closing for two weeks." It rained torrents that winter. I decide to come and see if something has happened to my house. […] And there, we realize that water has entered the kitchen.

A quote from Yvan Caron

It is not until the end of January that the workers return to install the finishing membrane on the roof. In the middle of winter, in the cold.

The contractor thought it was funny! He said, "You have an ice rink on your roof." I didn't find it funny, relates Mr. Caron, who then asked him: Are you telling me that you are going to lay a membrane on a roof that is frozen?

The couple still moved into the new house in February 2021. But they discovered other anomalies.

Bonneville returns to carry out corrective work, which Yvan Caron considers insufficient. Exasperated, he called a building inspector.

He was far from suspecting the extent of the defects and poor workmanship.

So, the first inspector comes to take the tour. He makes a 30-page report. A bunch of anomalies, says Mr. Caron.

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Yvan Caron quickly notices that something is wrong in his new house.

The inspector discovers minor problems, but also major problems, particularly on the roof: the membrane is not perfectly waterproof and has numerous blisters.

It's a roof that was installed in too cold weather. So, basically, he didn't adhere properly.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Pelletier, building inspector

Even more serious, the very structure of the house poses a problem.

In another report, a building engineer says there are missing posts, questionable temporary support and unstable support.

The missing posts […] could cause the roof to sag […] and even collapse, he writes. If no intervention is carried out in the near future, […] the structural integrity of the building as well as the safety of the occupants could be at risk.

The danger is the sagging of the roof structure, specifies Jean-Philippe Pelletier.

Yvan Caron and his partner remains marked by a particularly trying night. They then wake up suddenly in the middle of the night. The house is creaking. They fear that the roof will give way under the weight of the snow.

Me, I go outside, in the middle of winter, in February. I managed to put […] metal rods in the ice to hold my structure, says Mr. Caron, his voice breaking with emotion. We feel helpless. It's the middle of the night, the roof is falling. […] And I'm outside trying to hold on to my roof structure…

Despite the conclusions of three reports, Les Industries Bonneville refuses to carry out the necessary work.

During a telephone conversation, the co-president of the The company, Éric Bonneville, maintains that structural problems are the responsibility of the client, according to the terms of the contract.

We are just a subcontractor who supplies modules. All responsibility for the work does not belong to Bonneville. It belongs to Mr. Caron.

A quote from Éric Bonneville, co-president, Les Industries Bonneville

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Éric and Dany Bonneville are co-presidents of Bonneville Industries.

Bonneville Industries declined our request for an on-camera interview, but they specified by email that, according to them, the eaves were secured by a compliant and safe temporary support system. […] At no time was the safety of the occupants compromised.

We were discouraged. We said to ourselves: “There, we’ve been fooled. We love our land, but the house is a fiasco." If it had been possible, we would have returned it, says Yvan Caron.

Faced with the inaction of Bonneville Industries, the couple made a claim with GCR, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to administer the guarantee plan for new residential buildings in Quebec.

In a decision rendered in May 2022, GCR agreed with the buyers in eight out of ten points and forced Bonneville to carry out the corrective work.

The company is carrying out part of the work, but leaves the two main problems unanswered: the roof which needs to be completely redone and the structure which must be finished and consolidated.

At the end of summer 2022, the work is taken over by GCR.

Initially, GCR told me: " Mr. Caron, when we take charge, you have nothing more to do. Don't talk to anyone anymore, we'll take care of everything." […] I said: "Yay! We're happy, we're taken care of!"

But the couple is not at the end of their troubles yet.

More than a year after GCR's decision, the La facture team notes that the work is still not completed.

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The place will have retained its construction site feel for more than three years.

GCR is carrying out emergency work on the house of Yvan Caron and Line Bergeron in order to secure the structure and seal the breaches on the roof.

A temporary measure, pending the replacement of the roof membrane and the installation of wooden columns to consolidate the structure of the house.

Des mandates are awarded to contractors in the region and the work is supposed to be carried out in the spring or summer of 2023.

But the months pass and the work is not progressing.

To his great astonishment, Yvan Caron learned in September that GCR was giving Bonneville Industries one last chance. It is therefore the company which refused to comply with GCR's decision which will complete the work.

But I am discouraged by all this . I didn't want them to come back. This morning I had heartburn. It makes no sense, deplores Yvan Caron

According to Me Marie-Hélène Dufour, professor of construction law at the University of Sherbrooke, it is unusual for a contractor who has failed to carry out the required work to be given another chance. p>Open in full screen mode

Lawyer Marie-Hélène Dufour teaches construction law at the University of Sherbrooke.

There is a decision that has been made, she argues. The consumer has the right to expect that this work will be carried out and will be carried out within a reasonable time, which is really not the case here.

GCR's vice-president of communications, François-William Simard, explains that one of the mandated contractors failed and that a plan had to be quickly found B.

Our concern, the priority, is to ensure that the work can be done quickly at the residence of Mr. Caron and Ms. Bergeron. […] With Bonneville, we had discussions because they indicated an interest, indeed, in being able to do the work, explains Mr. Simard.

The work will be carried out in accordance with the decision of May 2022, and Bonneville will not be able to deviate from it, assures the GCR spokesperson.

We really developed a game plan where full compliance with GCR's decision was non-negotiable, maintains Mr. Simard.

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François-William Simard is Vice-President Communications and Partner Relations at Garantie construction logement, an organization whose role is to administer the guarantee plan for new residential buildings in Quebec.

Not negotiable? Nothing is less certain.

After a meeting with Les Industries Bonneville, GCR asks Yvan Caron if he agrees to take care of it himself of part of the work.

My representative calls me to ask if I accept compromises, he says. […] Bonneville would agree to redo the roof. But they said: "Let Mr. Caron take care of making its structure." I am not in a position to do this, the structural work. […] There, we fight with Bonneville to know who will do the work. Because there, they want to resume the work, but on their conditions. I refused. I said, 'No, I'm not the one in charge of the structure. It doesn't make common sense, he continues.

Mr. Caron eventually gives in and agrees to a compromise: ordering and installing parts for the structure.

But for Me Marie-Hélène Dufour, the time is no longer for negotiations. The GCR rules are clear: the entrepreneur must comply with the decision. By allowing the contractor to negotiate or seek a compromise, GCR contravenes the regulatory process, in addition to violating its own code of ethics and conduct, according to it.

Here, what is problematic is that the entrepreneur, through the front door; back, long after the deadlines have expired, […] returns and attempts, through pressure, through representations to GCR, to limit the corrective work to which it will ultimately be required.

A quote from Me Marie-Hélène Dufour, professor of law at the University of Sherbrooke

It is clearly too late, for the entrepreneur, to challenge, she adds. If he was dissatisfied or disagreed with certain elements of the guarantee plan administrator's decision, he had only 30 days to submit the matter to an arbitrator.

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Several anomalies were noted in the house.

On the phone, Éric Bonneville confirms that his company has not formally contested the decision according to GCR rules.

We did not agree with this decision because it […] condemned Bonneville to do work which belonged to the client, which did not belong not in Bonneville. […] We went to protest, we did not do it according to the rules of GCR.

A quote from Éric Bonneville, co-president, Les Industries Bonneville

To see that, in this case, the entrepreneur is capable of shaking up certain decisions that have been taken by GCR, it is certainly worrying. […] The administrator of the guarantee plan should be neutral, independent and act impartially, insists Me Dufour.

But GCR claims that there was no negotiation in Yvan Caron's case.

When there is a case that is taken over, it is normal to have discussions with all parties. It's okay to ask questions. This is part of the discussions we had with the various stakeholders. There are things that have also been requested from Bonneville Industries, says François William Simard. I can tell you that the decision will be completely respected.

Shortly after the visit of the La team invoice, Yvan Caron changes his mind and refuses to install the parts he ordered. And he won his case, because Bonneville ended up agreeing to comply in all respects with GCR's decision.

We decide to go do the work that Mr. Caron wants. We're going to do them and we're going to satisfy him. We decided to do what we call “buying peace.”

A quote from Éric Bonneville, co-president, Les Industries Bonneville

The company carried out the structural work last November and will replace the roof membrane next spring. The owners asked him to wait until the weather conditions were more favorable to do this.

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Yvan Caron sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Mr. Caron is delighted with the turn of events, but he will not be completely satisfied until the day all the work is finally finished.

Can I have my house as it is supposed to be delivered to me, so that I can finally sleep peacefully?

A quote from Yvan Caron

In the meantime, Yvan Caron and Line Bergeron decided to sue Les Industries Bonneville for small claims. They are each seeking $15,000 for the stress they suffered and loss of use of their home.

The company is contesting these proceedings.< /p>

The report by Annie Hudon-Friceau and Martin Jolicoeur will be presented on the show The invoice broadcast Tuesday at 7 h 30 (EST) on HERE TV

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